Evidence of moisture and mould on internal wall in house

Can Frost Kill Mould?

12 December 2023

The weather is, as ever, one of the chief talking points throughout the UK, and when the weather turns sour, with snow, frost, or otherwise bitterly cold temperatures, you can bet that it will be at the front of peoples minds – and that will apply to their property care problems as well.

This means that if someone finds mould in their property, one of the first questions they might ask is ‘can the cold weather or frost kill this mould?’

It’s a question with a complex answer, so to help you understand the ramifications of cold weather coming into contact with mould, we have put together this article all about whether frost can kill mould, and how cold weather might affect the behaviour of the mould itself.

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Can Mould be Impacted by the Weather?

Heavy black mould formed on house ceiling

 

In short, yes. Black mould can absolutely be impacted by the weather, although it’s not in a way you might want it to be.

Black mould is a fungus, a living organism that has developed, over time, an ability to thrive in conditions perfect for its growth. Just like any living organism it has been subject to evolution, and black mould fungus has evolved to be quick spreading once conditions are right, and adaptable to changes in temperature.

The big question is ‘can frost kill mould?’

No.

But you could be forgiven for thinking that it did. When the temperature drops to freezing, below freezing, or even around freezing, the fungus won’t stop living, but it will become dormant. This means that the mould fungus simply stops releasing its spores, stopping its spread across whatever surface it’s currently inhabiting.

This doesn’t mean the fungus is dead though. The cold weather just stops it from spreading, but often the high humidity level that goes along with frosty weather will only serve to keep the fungus fed, ready for it to release a new wave of spores as soon as the weather warms up again.

So, if you do have black mould in your property and were hoping that a drop in the ambient temperature might dissuade black mould growth and kill the fungus, we are afraid to say that’s not the case.

In fact, a lower temperature can lead to a boost in black mould growth.

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How Can Low Temperatures Encourage Black Mould Growth?

Mould growing on roof beams cause by condensation

Right now, everyone in the UK faces sky high heating bills, and the bitterly cold winters we normally get aren’t making things easier. For many, leaving the heating off and coping with the cold is going to be a viable course of action, but realistically, avoiding all heating in a property can lead to further issues which can contribute to the growth of black mould.

Let us explain how that might happen.

If a property doesn’t have its heating on, and the temperature inside is only slightly above that of outside, then any heat generated in the property has a much higher chance of turning into condensation on the properties walls, windows, and any other surfaces in the property.

High levels of condensation, in any property, can lead to the growth of black mould. That’s because black mould is drawn into environments that have moisture rich surfaces, that same moisture being a source of nourishment for the mould itself.

If the high levels of condensation are allowed to continue, then it’s very possible that your property could become riddled with black mould, especially in rooms that generate plenty of condensation like your bathroom, your kitchen, or your bedroom.

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How Can I Stop Black Mould from Growing During Colder Weather?

Moisture gathering on some piping in a basement

The main reason that black mould might speed up its growth and spread during winter is thanks to the increased creation of condensation, so it makes sense that the best way to stop black mould from growing would be to deprive it of the conditions which let it thrive; controlling the condensation levels.

Because condensation can be easily created in a cold property, the first piece of advice we have is that running the heating, even on low, for short periods can drastically reduce the amount of condensation being created on your properties surfaces.

We know that the cost of living crisis is a real problem, but we would say that the health benefits associated with reducing black mould growth are well worth considering when you are thinking about running the heating in your property.

Of course, if the heating isn’t an option, or you find that running the heating isn’t having the impact that you might want, then you can look into other options.

Firstly, consider the different activities that you might engage in that create steam, or hot humid air. Cooking, for example, can be big source of condensation, just as having a bath or shower can be, and in particularly cold properties even activities like turning on a tumble dryer or dishwasher might be enough to create condensation.

The answer in all of these scenarios is to ensure that adequate ventilation is available to handle the humid air being created. Extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom, an open window (even just a crack), trickle vents in the window itself, or even a positive pressure system to guarantee a constant circulation of air, all of these are proven methods of controlling condensation.

Until you have the condensation creation under control we can say with confidence that any black mould in your property will continue to thrive, and that even if you do remove the black mould, it will only come back as the conditions are suited to its growth.

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How Can I Remove Black Mould During Freezing Weather?

Removing black mould off internal wall in house

So, lets assume that you have brought your condensation under control, and have it at a manageable level. At this point you are going to want to remove the unsightly blotches of black mould from your property, not to mention eliminate the chance of it releasing more spores so it can potentially grow and spread further.

The answer here is to use a mould eradication kit.

The mould eradication kit provided by Timberwise, for example, has been designed not only to remove the mould from whatever surface in your property has been effected, but also to eliminate the chance of the spores from taking root and growing again in the future.

First, you use the mould eliminator spray (included in the kit). This spray is a fast acting, bleach-based, and hygiene-safe surface cleaner that has been designed specifically for use on mould and mildew.

Just spray it directly onto the mould, and then wait three minutes for the formula to soak in and eliminate the mould. Once you wipe the spray away, the black mould should come with it, leaving a clean surface in its wake.

Once you have used the mould eliminator, then you can apply the mould sanitiser spray (also included in the mould eradication kit). The mould sanitiser spray works to kill mould spores that may remain after the initial cleaning, helping give you peace of mind that the black mould won’t be retuning any time soon once you are done.

This process will normally eliminate any black mould in the property, but you might have to look into replacing certain features, like plasterboard or wallpaper if the mould infestation was bad enough.

If you are worried about black mould growth in your property, or the level of condensation being created during freezing or cold weather, then our team can help. We can provide a condensation survey to help you discover the real causes behind the condensation in your property, and help you understand how to best control them.

Just call 0800 288 8660, or fill in the contact form below for one of our team to get in touch.